Guest Maureen

President

8 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, Guest Maureen said:

Do you make a motion not do do something?

Some additional details may be helpful, but generally speaking, there is no purpose in making a motion not to do something.

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No, never. A motion must always be phrased as a proposal to do something. If you make a motion "not to do X", and it is voted down, then did the assembly just agree to do X?

If no member of the assembly wants to do X, then there is no motion required for that. If nobody moves that the assembly do X, then the assembly won't do X. In some cases, this may feel weird, such as if someone outside the assembly just made a presentation asking for money. In this case, though, the chair might go as far as saying "Is there a motion to award $X to Mr. Jingles?" but if nobody moves it, the assembly moves on to the next item of business.

If members are split, then someone who is in favour of doing X should move it. Then the people opposed can argue against it.

The only sort-of exception is in the case where there is a negative action which is different from doing nothing. For instance, if someone were applying to a position, then sending them a rejection letter is not doing nothing, so it would be in order to move to send them a rejection letter.

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I can see several situations where such a motion would be in order. For example, if it is the normal procedure that an armed guard is stationed in the Gazebo with orders to shoot to kill intruders, a motion to "do nothing" for a children's Easter egg roll might be in order.

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I can envision many instances where a motion not to do something might be in order.

For example, assume that an organization normally participates in an annual Christmas Parade, and the board of directors, which is empowered to act for the society between meetings of the membership, usually enters the society in the parade on its own volition.

It would be appropriate at a general membership meeting for the society to adopt a motion that the society not enter the 2017 Christmas parade ( or any future Christmas parades). Or,   the alternative, the membership could adopt a motion directing the board not to enter the society in the parade. The board would then be bound by the decision of the membership and would be prohibited from entering the society in the Christmas parade.

A motion not to do something might also be a way of stopping a custom, such as a custom of having an invocation and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of every meeting, or of passing a hat at every meeting for the collection of donations for the Ronald McDonald Foundation. A motion to not have an invocation or a pledge or to noy take up collections during meetings would be in order. Perhaps the motion would be in the nature of a standing rule or a Special Rule of Order, but it is still a motion to not do something.

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Guest Maureen:  see pp 104-105 where RONR states motions to "reaffirm" a position previously taken by the adoption of a motion are not in order, and a motion that only proposes that the assembly "refrain" from doing something (when the same effect is achieved by offering no motion) should not be offered, and it's preferable to avoid a motion containing a negative statement so as not to confuse members as to its effect.

If by "make a motion not to do something" you mean any of those things, you shouldn't do it.

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3 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

I can envision many instances where a motion not to do something might be in order.

For example, assume that an organization normally participates in an annual Christmas Parade, and the board of directors, which is empowered to act for the society between meetings of the membership, usually enters the society in the parade on its own volition.

It would be appropriate at a general membership meeting for the society to adopt a motion that the society not enter the 2017 Christmas parade ( or any future Christmas parades). Or,   the alternative, the membership could adopt a motion directing the board not to enter the society in the parade. The board would then be bound by the decision of the membership and would be prohibited from entering the society in the Christmas parade.

A motion not to do something might also be a way of stopping a custom, such as a custom of having an invocation and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of every meeting, or of passing a hat at every meeting for the collection of donations for the Ronald McDonald Foundation. A motion to not have an invocation or a pledge or to noy take up collections during meetings would be in order. Perhaps the motion would be in the nature of a standing rule or a Special Rule of Order, but it is still a motion to not do something.

We're possibly splitting hairs, but I suppose I'll clarify: A motion must not be phrased in such a way that adopting is a statement in favour of the status quo. In these examples, the motion actually has an effect if adopted, even though it's phrased in the negative.

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Another example would be if the Board (for example) normally takes a recess roughly halfway through the meeting.  A motion could be made to "Not take a recess during the meeting." 

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